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Geoff Page

Geoff Page is based in Canberra. His books include 1953 (UQP 2013), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann 2013), Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir (Picaro Press 2014), Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry 2015), Hard Horizons (Pitt Street Poetry 2017) and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography (UWA Publishing 2016). He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc). His most recent books are in medias res (Pitt Street Poetry, 2019) and Codicil (Flying Islands Press, 2020)

Geoff Page reviews 'Eagerly We Burn: Selected poems 1980–2018' by Barry Hill

April 2020, no. 420 20 March 2020
There is probably no book in a poet’s career more important than their first Selected Poems. It is here that poets have the opportunity to display the best of their work in all its variety over several decades. Individual collections are a mere step on the way. Collecteds tend to be posthumous and of interest mainly to scholars, reference libraries, and a cluster of devotees. Barry Hill’s Eag ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected writings on Philip Larkin' by Clive James

March 2020, no. 419 19 December 2019
To some it may seem solipsistic to be reviewing what is, in effect, a collection of reviews, but when the reviewer in question is as smart as the late Clive James and the subject is as substantial as Philip Larkin (1922–85) this is unlikely to be the case. Even if Somewhere Becoming Rain were not as good as it is, the very fact of its existence would still be moving. Knowing he is in his final ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'The Tomb of the Unknown Artist' by Andy Kissane

June–July 2019, no. 412 23 May 2019
Andy Kissane, who (with Belle Ling) shared the 2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, is one of Australia’s most moving poets. He is unfailingly empathetic, a master of poetic narrative – and of the ‘middle style’ where language is not an end in itself but an unobtrusive vehicle for poignancy (or, occasionally, humour or irony). The Tomb of the Unknown Artist, Kissane’s fifth collection, is div ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Green Shadows and Other Poems' by Gerald Murnane

March 2019, no. 409 25 February 2019
There has been a long and often troubled history of poets writing novels and novelists writing poetry. The skills needed are very different and equally hard to learn. Few writers have made equal careers in both. If they do, it’s usually the novels that receive most attention. (Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje spring to mind.) Many major novelists, however, had some poetry among their early w ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'The River in the Sky' by Clive James

November 2018, no. 406 26 October 2018
For admirers of Clive James’s poetry written since he became terminally ill in 2011 (and this reviewer is certainly one), The River in the Sky will pose something of a quandary. In collections like Sentenced to Life (2015) and Injury Time (2017), the poems were generally tough, vulnerable, well-turned and, given the circumstances, stoic. The River in the Sky has some of these qualities but is ve ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Transparencies' by Stephen Edgar

August 2017, no. 393 25 July 2017
After Stephen Edgar’s nine collections of poetry, the last seven of which are distinguished by an extraordinary control over metre and rhyme, a reviewer feels bound to ask how this new book, Transparencies, differs from its predecessors? There are at least two answers: the recurrent spirit of the poet’s mother, Marion Isabel Edgar (1922–2015), to whom the book is dedicated, and the poet’s ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'A Personal History of Vision' by Luke Fischer, 'Flute of Milk' by Susan Fealy', and 'Dark Convicts: Ex-slaves on the First Fleet' by Judy Johnson

May 2017, no. 391 30 April 2017
The UWAP Poetry imprint began in late 2016, and there are already fourteen titles available. To judge from the quality of the three reviewed here, UWAP’s energy and ambition is well-placed. In the first of these books, A Personal History of Vision ($22.99 pb, 100 pp, 9781742589381), Luke Fischer, in his poem ‘Why I Write’, provides a useful starting point. After rejecting a number of famili ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry' edited by John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan

April 2017, no. 390 30 March 2017
The need for this book is self-evident in a way that a similarly historical anthology for New South Wales or Victorian poetry would not be. From many perspectives, Perth is one of the most remote cities in the world and there is no doubt that the state’s uniqueness is captured in this extensive, though tightly edited, selection. Despite its comparable treatment of Aboriginal people, Western Aust ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'The Notebooks' by Geoff Page

States of Poetry ACT - Series Two 22 February 2016
The Notebooks Thirty years of dreams are storedin notebooks, written down on waking. Her daughter’s kept them all,imagining her mother moves among those shimmering and scribbledlayers on a bedside table. Those narratives live on, she’s sure,in all their raw hallucinations, their sudden runs of ecstasy,their weird humiliations. Yet from her own the daughter knowshow quickly dreams dispers ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'Judgement' by Geoff Page

States of Poetry ACT - Series Two 22 February 2016
Judgement If all we’re told is righthow wearisome He’ll find it;all those fine gradations, those mitigating factors.Psychopaths are easybut who are we to say? The virtuous are harder,their sin of subtle pride,their svelte self-satisfaction. The normal are the worst,one day a fine donation,next day a little nip, a joke that cuts too deep,some small misuse of power.And then, just one day on ... (read more)
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